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Taste and Tour named NI’s Best Small Visitor Attraction

From left, Phil Ervine, co-founder of Taste and Tour; Cliona Arthur, media sales manager at Belfast City Airport; and Caroline Wilson, co-founder of Taste and Tour.

Taste and Tour has won the title of Northern Ireland’s Best Small Visitor Attraction following a competition launched by George Best Belfast City Airport in partnership with Tourism NI.

The Belfast-based company, which hosts food and drink tours and experiences, will now receive £30,000 of free marketing support and brand visibility at Belfast City Airport.

Earlier this year all 11 councils put forward a shortlist of attractions and experiences which then took part in a public vote on the airport’s Facebook page with the winning attraction from each council progressing to the final.

All 11 finalists then received a visit from the judging panel, which included representatives from Tourism NI, Tourism Ireland, Visit Britain and TripAdvisor.

“Huge congratulations must go to Taste and Tour and all of the finalists for getting to this stage of the competition,” said Katy Best, commercial director at Belfast City Airport. “Our judging panel was extremely impressed with each of the attractions, all of which offer a different experience for locals and visitors alike.

“We were thrilled to partner with Tourism NI on this project to really shine a light on some of the hidden gems here in Northern Ireland.

“We hope all the finalists have benefitted from additional exposure as a result of this campaign and will work with our winners, Taste and Tour, to facilitate £20,000 of in terminal advertising and £10,000 of visibility across our popular digital channels.”

The finalists included: Taste and Tour (Belfast City Council); Erne Water Taxi (Fermanagh and Omagh District Council); Carrick Cottage (Newry, Mourne and Down District Council); Clip ‘n Climb (Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council); Kilcreggan Urban Farm (Mid and East Antrim Borough Council); The Somme Museum (Ards and North Down Borough Council); Museum of Orange Heritage (Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council); RSPB Rathlin West Light Seabird Centre (Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council); Siege Museum (Derry City and Strabane District Council); Todds Leap (Mid Ulster Council); and World of Owls (Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council).

John McGrillen, chief executive at Tourism NI, said: “We were keen to support the airport with this project as it drew attention to some of the incredible attractions we have here in Northern Ireland, and generally attractions that don’t have large marketing budgets.

“The prize of £30,000 advertising at Belfast City Airport, which transports approximately 2.6m passengers each year, will be hugely significant for Taste and Tour in terms of strengthening brand awareness and increasing footfall.

“On behalf of Tourism NI, I would like to congratulate Taste and Tour and all of our finalists for getting involved with this competition and really showcasing the best of Northern Ireland’s small visitor attractions.”

Caroline Wilson, of Taste and Tour, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be named Northern Ireland’s Best Small Visitor Attraction, particularly when all of the finalists were of such a high calibre.

“We have a huge passion for local food and drink and Taste and Tour is all about sharing that with others – whether that’s with people from Northern Ireland or visitors coming into the city.”

Phil Ervine, of Taste and Tour, said: “The marketing support from Belfast City Airport will help us reach even more people, supporting our continued growth and development and we are so excited for this partnership.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed the process of this competition and have been made aware of the many other excellent attractions within Northern Ireland that we can’t wait to visit.”

As a partner of the campaign, Tourism Ireland will also be providing marketing support for Taste and Tour NI. The Belfast tour will be promoted to key audiences across Great Britain and Tourism Ireland will work with Taste and Tour NI to build this plan.

The search to find Northern Ireland’s Best Small Visitor Attraction followed the success of Belfast City Airport’s previous search to find Northern Ireland’s Best Food or Drink Product in partnership with Food NI. Long Meadow Cider was crowned the winner and enjoyed extensive marketing support and visibility at the airport resulting in their product being sold on site.

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